loving or hateful?

The reality was that the day would be as hard I made it. Or as pleasant.
There was nothing I could do about my circumstances but accept them. “It’s always my choice,” I reminded myself. Not necessarily to like whatever life throws at me, but to try to catch the ball.
After all, success in life is not how well we execute Plan A; it’s how smoothly we cope with Plan B.  And for most of us, that’s 99 percent of the time.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

I didn’t sleep well last night. And as I was attempting to get in a last few zzz’s my beloved cat, Toby, became a royal pain in the patootie. First he woke me up in the wee hours by putting a claw inside my nostril. I’m sure he tried patting me on the face first but when I didn’t wake up he resorted to claws. I fussed at him and promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. Then he woke me again (I don’t know how long I was asleep – it felt like 1 second) by patting on my face with his claws extended. I pushed him off the bed. Like a boomerang he bounced right back up again. I finally got the message and petted him a few times, loved on him and went back to sleep. He left me alone for a while and then he started the game all over again. The result? A sleep-deprived and very grumpy human.

When I finally woke and started my day I was annoyed at the four-legged creatures that live with me. The first 15-20 minutes of everyday is devoted to them and for the most part I’m fine with it; but on mornings like this, well, it’s hard. When I was finally finished with their needs, I sat down and asked God why was I so miserable, why was I so grumpy to my love-babies and to help me see the answer.

Eventually I remembered that not every day can be a high; there have to be lows to balance everything out. But I had a choice with what to do with my day. I could either choose to go into it very grumpy and mean. Or I could choose to go into my day with grace and love. I prayed for grace and love. I don’t want to go Wa-Wa’s for coffee and be grumpy to the sales clerk; it’s not their fault I’m in a bad mood. I can’t afford to go to work and be grumpy – I could lose my job if I lost it with a customer.

Everyday is a choice. It is a choice to be grateful or to hate my life. It is a choice to allow God to flow through me or to refuse Him. It is a choice to be, simply put, loving or hateful.

I pray each day to make the right choice – the choice for love, grace and God.

hal half c


we must try

We must try to contribute joy to the world.
That is true no matter what our problems,
our health, our circumstances.
We must try.
—Roger Ebert

Sometimes life sucks. It does for me, it does for you, it does for everybody. And sometimes it seems like I get a bigger dose of suckiness than everybody else. And to top it off, as a child of God I am obligated not to spread that suckiness around – not because I supposed to pretend it doesn’t exist but to show myself that life is more than the current malfunctioning of my life.

When I, out of anger or frustration or meanness, take out all those emotions of malfunction on unsuspecting humans or other creatures I am telling myself that God either is too busy to care or if He weren’t busy He still wouldn’t care anyway so I might as well be a b**** to everyone I come across because it doesn’t matter anyway and my life will suck no matter what. I am saying to God that I don’t trust You with my life, I don’t believe You are acting for my good and maybe, even, I don’t really believe You are there.

I believe God has tasked me (us) with the job of trusting Him no matter what, no matter what. And, frankly speaking, it is not easy.

When something goes wrong, whether in my control or not, my first reaction is to blame someone else. For instance:

• I’m late for work because the 7-11 clerk was slow (reality: she was being nice to someone else and helping them)
• I am snippy with my doctor for making me wait 45 minutes to see her (reality: she was taking her time with all her patients as she will with me because that is the type of physician she is)
• I almost got into a wreck because the car in front of me cut me off (reality: I was too selfish to let them in ahead of me)
• And so on and so forth.

Much of the trouble or discontent or malfunctioning in my life is my fault. As Harry S. Truman announced: “the buck stops HERE!” and I need to own up and take responsibility for my problems. I need to reach out to God and trust that He does Love me and Cares for me in spite of my stupidity, my insolence and my ungrateful behavior.

When I trust God has the best in mind for me it relieves me of the burden of carrying around the suckiness of my life and frees me to be kind, generous, loving, patient and just plain nice to other people. When I trust God, I allow His Loving Spirit to flow through me to touch the suckiness in the lives of others. And that is as it should be, as it needs to be, at least for me.

land meets water e

I’m sorry…

The man who works for others without any selfish motive,
really does good to himself.
-Ram Krishna Paramhans

One aspect of my job is to apologize; while I have no control over what my employer does, it is my responsibility to soothe the angry customer and say I’m sorry. And some days I say I am sorry on every phone call. I say it so often I grow weary of saying it. And, I actually don’t like saying it most of the time; it’s hard to feel compassion for someone who is angry and taking their frustrations out on me. But apologize I must.

Occasionally I hear myself say “I’m sorry” over and over – I mean really hear how many times I say it and I try to start saying “I apologize.” That just sounds better than ‘I’m sorry’ which sounds like I am personally responsible for what happened. So I am trying to change my auto-pilot response to sound a bit more compassionate.

So all of this has me thinking how much I apologize in my personal life as well. If something goes wrong, my first response is “I’m sorry” whether it was my fault or not. Even if it is raining outside and I had made plans with a friend or family member, I apologize for the rain – as if I had anything to do with it!

What is it about me, about women in general and southern women in particular, that has us all saying “I’m sorry” for everything. Why do we, do I, feel responsible for the world? All the female members of my family apologize(d) incessantly and feel guilty when life doesn’t go according to plan. Are we really that arrogant to think the world revolves around us? Or, do we really hate ourselves for not the being perfect daughter, wife, mother, employee we were told we ought to be?

I am quite sure this is not the first time this subject has been broached for discussion and it won’t be the last. I can’t worry about what other people have said or written. I can only worry/change what comes out of my head, through my mouth and out into the world.

Today – just for today – I am going to not say “I am sorry” every time someone doesn’t get what they want or is having a bad day. I will most definitely apologize when my employer has done something wrong or is perceived as doing wrong by the customer. But I won’t say “I’m sorry.” Instead it will be “I apologize.” It will probably be very uncomfortable at first – awkward silences followed by pregnant pauses before someone speaks again. But I am going to try.

After all, I am sorry that I say I’m sorry so much.